Friday, September 25, 2015

1533 But Back to the Speech

1533 But Back to the Speech

If you saw the pope’s speech to congress, no doubt you noticed he spoke to us in English.  He’s from Argentina, so you’d think that being an inclusive kind of guy, he would have said at least a few words in Spanish.

Maybe he’ll fix that obvious, insensitive omission during the New York leg of his US visit.  And since he was raised in a family of Italians, maybe he’ll even say a few words to New York’s still- enormous Italian rooted population.

But back to the speech.  

Oh. Just a moment. Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg nodding off?  Or was her head bowed in prayer?  Or both?

Along with Ginsburg sat Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor.  Another 5-4 decision, as Scalia, Thomas, Kagan, Bryer and Alito had better things to do.

But back to the speech.  

Oh. Just a moment. Biden and Boehner sat behind the Pope and while Biden clapped appropriately, Boehner had to think about it a bit and looked like he was working one of those gizmos that turns on the lights when you clap your hands.

But back to the speech.

Oh.  Just a moment. Wonder if the conservatives were anticipating the colonoscopy Francis gave them.

But back to the speech.

The talk started typically papal, alright. “Life at all stages… is sacred.”  Brace yourself for another anti- abortion diatribe.  But that didn’t happen. Sneaky Francis.

The he put the camera further inside the patients as he talked poverty and arms sales and wars and such.  And he singled out four Americans for having the right stuff:

Of Abraham Lincoln he said:  “Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.”

Martin Luther King:  “I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of "dreams". Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.”

Dorothy Day: “...who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”


Thomas Merton: “...it is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue -- a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons -- new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility.”

Note that for much of her life, the church didn’t exactly embrace Dorothy Day.  It was near the end of her life that they finally decided she wasn’t a communist, wasn’t an anarchist and was trying to make practical use of the church’s stated missions.  Still, you don’t hear her quoted a lot in Vatican circles and certainly not from a pope.

Pope fever will last a few more days. He has things to do in New York and in Philadelphia.  Then we can all go back to doing what we do best here: Marginalize the poor, put boots on the ground in places we’re not wanted in the name of a democracy we don’t ourselves practice and put a satisfied life out of the reach of anyone not on or near the Forbes 400.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2015

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